Israel goes to polls in tight election contest

Baku, March 17, AZERTAC

Millions of Israelis are casting their votes to determine their country's next Prime Minister and the make-up of its parliament.

Polls opened Tuesday at 7 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) and will close at 10 p.m.

Ballots are for political parties rather than individual candidates. Israel has a proportional representation system, meaning a coalition government is likely to be formed within its 120-seat Knesset, or parliament.

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voted in the country’s general election, fighting to stay in office for a fourth term.

The last opinion polls put the centre-left opposition in the lead but all will depend on potential coalition partners.

Casting his ballot at a school in Jerusalem, the prime minister vowed that he would form what he called a “national government” – meaning right wing – and that there would be no union with the left.

He acknowledged that his opponents’ lead had widened.

“To prevent the rise to power of a left-wing party, there is only one thing to do – close the gap, and vote for Likud,” the prime minister said.

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